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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  September 1, 2009 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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and new mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for los angeles county. the flames are dangerously close to the historic mt. wilson observatory and more than 20 transmission towers, radio antennas sit on that mountain. if fire hits the mountain some radio and tv service would be interrupted. this afternoon california governor arnold schwarzenegger praising the work the firefighters have been able to do. >> i want the people to know that we are doing everything that we can in order to help and to save lives, to save property, and to save your memories. our most valuable resources, of course, are the firefighters. >> nbc's michael oku joins us live from los angeles. we heard the governor say they're doing everything in their power. we know the state has been crippled because of financial crisis. does that have any impact on how or what equipment and resources are given to fighting the fire?
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>> reporter: the state is spending a lot of money, cameron. i can tell you it's the number one priority in terms of wildfires here in the state. as a matter of fact, it's the biggest wildfire and most serious wildfire in the entire country right now. the governor making it very clear that no expense will be spared. already it's called more than $13 million in damage. i got to imagine that that number is actually higher than what's officially on the table now. and the state has paid more than $106 million fighting this fire out of its $182 million emergency fire fighting fund. so clearly that's a huge number, and it's a huge percentage given the fact that we're not really into the main part of the fire season yet. we're just at the beginning of it. the governor has declared a state of emergency in about half a dozen counties. clearly hoping that the federal government will step in and pick up maybe about 75% of the cost here. >> incredible, some of that video coming in, michael.
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thank you very much for the latest on the efforts to get the wildfire. right now only 5% contained. >> tamron, in the bigger picture, the wildfires have chased thousands of people from their homes in southern california. as we heard, governor schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in five cowan tis, including los angeles. just as some residents were cleared to return home yesterday, new rounds of evacuations were ordered in the eastern san fernando valley area of los angeles. joining us live on the phone is democratic congressman brad sherman who represents the san fernando valley. congressman sherman, how many of your constituents are essentially in danger here? >> it depends on how the fire spreads. right now we've had hundreds of homes that are under mandatory evacuation in the sunland tujunga area, the far east end of the san fernando valley. but if this thing spreads into the main part of sunland tujunga, we could be dealing with thousands of homes. if this fire is burning at the
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very edge of the city of los angeles. >> again, to put this in some perspective, we're talking for people not familiar with southern california, an area north of los angeles, north of burbank. there's the angeles national forest. it's essentially spread south from there. are people paying attention? are they following the orders to evacuate? >> the vast majority of people are. and all should. because anyone who defies an evacuation order is not only endangers themselves, they're endangering the firefighters that may be called upon to save them. >> and there has been some concern about communications going down because of the mt. wilson and all those transmission towers. have you been advised about what the backup plan, the emergency plan is, if, in fact, the television transmission towers, the radio communications, the cell phone towers are impacted by the fire? >> it's a complicated story. our public safety officials do have a pretty effective backup plan.
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but each radio station, each television station has its own backup plan. over half my constituents have cable or satellite so they continue to get television that way. but the signal could get pretty snowy for some others on certain channels. >> brad serman, congressman, could luck to you and to your con constituents. >> i do want to mention we have insurance, we'll be getting funds for some of the costs. >> it's not just people and homes threatened by the southern california wildfires, but certainly also animals are at risk. and as residents evacuate, many are actually forced to drop their pets off at the local humane society. the number of animals at one shelter has tripled since the fire started. mar ma r people don't want to leave their
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animals behind. sometimes they stay because they don't have somewhere safe to place their animals while they evacuate. >> reporter: absolutely. and that's certainly the case. and i know that a lot of the humane societies are always concerned about that. they hope their doors. i was at the pasadena humane society this morning. i got an e-mail last night. they put out a call. they need crates. i walked through this morning. they have a lot of animals with little tags on them so their owners will come back to them at some point. but it's definitely a concern. you have to do something with the animals. i know that a preserve was one of the mandatory evacuations. 64 large cats. where are you going to put them? i know the wildlife foundation here is grateful to a lot of people coming in with flat bed trucks. there's still animals that need
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to be evacuated. >> an incredible effort in the midst of all that chaos. thank you very much. if you have any pictures or video of the wildfires, we would love to see them. you can e-mail them to firstperson nbc's brian williams has traveled to california. tonight, he'll be anchoring "nbc nightly news" live from the fire zone. you can check your local listings for the updates for "nightly news" and its coverage. we're going to keep our audience up to date as this fire is spreading to an incredible amount of distance. democrats hoping for a comeback on health care reform this month when they return from the august recess this week. the president and his party appear to have a lot of work to do. look at this. according to a brand-new cbs news poll, only 31% say they have a clear understanding of the president's health care plan. a whopping 67% say they are
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confused by the reform ideas. and even though president obama has been spending a lot of time talking about health care crisis across the country, and even we've seen in those town hall meetings, 60% still say he has not clearly explained his health plan. over the past few days there have been calls for the president to set up and take a bigger role with legislation, even from members of his own party. washington bureau chief for the "wall street journal" echoes that sentiment in today's paper, writing, quote, as the president and his administration figure out how to hit the reset button on health care, at the close of the bruising august, one option is to, at last, lay out exactly what mr. obama now wants in an overhaul package and start selling and defending that. how does he do it? chuck todd is nbc's chief white house correspondent. we spoke earlier about so much advice out there. what are the indications you're getting from the white house that we're going to see a different strategy, at least one that is more direct when you look at those poll numbers it's clear people are confused.
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>> i think the one trus frustration the white house has, they feel like they have been talking a lot about this issue. but as you know, because there are four different bills that have come out of congress, opponents of health care, of the democratic version of health care reform, have attacked, there hasn't been an idea of what the central plan is. nobody seems to understand what it is, even members of congress. so, you know, what comes out of the senate finance committee is the big unknown. the obama administration is working very closely with max baucus. what comes out of there is likely to become the central plan that the president will end up going out there and defending. we're getting hints that after labor day we will hear a lot from him. september is chock full of a number of issues basically coming due from the fact that he's hosting the g-20 in pittsburgh, the u.n. general assembly is going to bring world leaders from all over there. he's got to deal with that. he's got to have -- they want to
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deal with the anniversary of the financial crisis and try to highlight the fact that they believe they pulled the economy from the brink, the decisions that they made. so they've got a lot of things they're trying to accomplish in september. but first and foremost is going to be to try to right the ship of health care. >> chuck, as you've reported, some progressives are still upset that the white house continues its effort at bipartisanship when it doesn't appear they've gotten anything in return. politically, though, does the white house feel now that it at least has made the point that they've been trying to extend the hand of bipartisanship even when it was sort of rejected, and now they can at least kind of turn the corner and say, okay, we've given the republicans every opportunity. it's so clear based on all these examples they don't want to help, so now is the time finally to go ahead and put forward a democratic bill? >> reporter: i don't know if they feel like they have that much cover. i think they do believe there's a little bit of a game of chicken going on, right. they don't want to be the ones to tell enzi and grassley, two of the three republican senators
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still involved with the bipartisan talks on the health care bill in the senate finance committee, they don't want to be the ones to say get out. those guys don't want to quit and give the president the high ground. neither side wants to give the other the high ground here. the problem is, david when you look at some of the polling and you look at the middle and independents, they like the idea of bipartisanship. they want to constantly see it. the one question i have is, will they decide to go around and look for new bipartisan partners? will they maybe go around the republican leadership, go and pluck other republican senators, maybe try to get a mel martinez, republicans that are retiring from the senate in 2010 and try to create new coalitions, frankly. that's something someone said the white house should try to do more of. they didn't early. maybe that's what they should try to do here. the problem is that middle. i think certainly polls have shown there's a slight edge of -- when it comes to
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criticism, that more people criticize republicans for not being bipartisan than the president. but i don't think the middle, the independents, are having positive things to say about either side. >> nbc's chuck todd, thank you very much for joining us. >> reporter: all right. david, obviously those poll numbers are interesting. we'll see how the white house reacts. we also have the report that the speaker of the house after the recess plans to have a closed door meeting where she is going to try to do some damage control after what we've seen this august. it'll be interesting what she comes out with after those meetings. >> yeah. tamron, as speaker of the house, she's going to hear it from her own caucus. people are infuriated that the public option won't be there. for all the reasons chuck pointed out, the clock is running out. it's crunch time as far as what the president is going to do. so many democrats are hanging, exactly what he's doing to -- other possible crimes committed by the man accused of
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kidnapping a young girl and fathering two children with her. a live update on that one. plus, new calls from both the left and the right to get out of afghanistan. how will that affect president obama's decision about sending more troops into combat? and we'll have much more on those wildfires out in california. do firefighters have the resources they will need? you know that california suffered with budget cuts. much more on that. you're watching the big picture only on msnbc. you were right. these healthy choice fresh mixer thingys, they taste fresh... say it again! they taste fresh. wait. what are you doing? got it. you're secretly taping me? cook it fresh, strain it fresh, mix it fresh, healthy choice fresh mixers, look for it in the soup or pasta aisle. my daughter was with me. i took a bayer aspirin out of my purse and chewed it. my doctor said the bayer aspirin saved my life. please talk to your doctor about aspirin and your heart. i'm going to be grandma for a long time. i had a heart attack at 57.
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welcome back. we are back with developments in the case of the california girl abducted and held by an accused sexual predator for 18 years. actually, he's been convicted of other instances of it, david. >> yeah, tamron, that's right. investigators have made a surprising discovery. it came as cadaver dogs searched
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a property next to the home of phillip garrido. a yard to which he had access. >> yesterday during our search, one bone fragment was found. it was found on the neighbor's property. we're taking that bone back for further examination. we don't know if it's human or animal. >> police are investigating whether garrido, the man suspected of raping and kidnapping jaycee dugard, is involved in other unsolved crimes, including a series of prostitute murders in the 1990s. nbc's george lewis is in antioch, california, with the latest on the investigation. george, tell us more about this bone fragment they found. >> reporter: yeah. it was a single fragment of bone. they do not know whether it was animal bone or human bone. they want to be very careful about sifting through all of this evidence. so it's going to take a while, probably weeks, for laboratory studies to be made on this. but what they're looking for is any tie-in between phillip garrido and a series of unsolved
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murders in this area, including the murders of three prostitutes whose bodies were dumped in an industrial area near where garrido once worked. they're also looking at unsolved kidnapping cases in the area. and there's a young woman named -- a girl named michaela garrett who was kidnapped in 1988, a few years after garrido went out on parole from an earlier rape and kidnapping conviction. they're looking at her because the method of her abduction was very similar to that of jaycee dugard. and there is a resemblance between the two girls. they've taken another long look at that case and another kidnapping in the bay area as well as various other unvol sol murders and kidnappings. >> george, officials have had another couple days to investigate what happened with the kidnapping of jaycee dugard. do they have any better
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understanding as to why she did not -- >> reporter: no, they don't really. i've talked to psychological experts who say often these kidnapping victims are under the -- of their abductors and often they exert influence over them. remember, jaycee dugard had two children, allegedly, by this man. there could have been threats against the children. there could have been a feeling that he is the father of my children and a very close bond. we're not quite sure, david. >> nbc's george lewis reporting from california. thanks for the update. we appreciate it. tamron, this story seems to get more and more disturb ing. they find a bone fragment. there are questions about what else they might find. it's horrifying. >> and there was an article i saw today, people have been wondering how jaycee would be able to get back into life and if you can get back all of those years lost with this man who's been convicted of other offenses. it says that she was having a very difficult time as anyone can imagine after 18 years of
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being held captive. even though she had a chance to communicate with the outside world. we don't know the power that he had over her mentally. which is key in this. up next, our need to know on hurricane jimena. a powerful category 4 storm now barreling toward baja, california. the latest on when it might make landf landfall. >> a controversy the talk of the sports world as football gets under way. did the university of michigan break the rules with its players in an effort to get an unfair advantage over the competition? say it isn't so. the big picture on msnbc. (announcer) your doctor knows
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emergency workers are struggling to evacuate thousands of reluctant residents. right now jimena is churning in the pacific as a category 4 hurricane. it's currently packing 134 mile an hour winds, down from 155 earlier today. rain from jimena is expected to bring some relief to northwestern mexico. it had a drought there. it's already expected to dump rain on southern new mexico and arizona. but forecasters say it's unlikely to douse southern california wildfires. still ahead, an update on those dangerous wildfires in southern california. >> the state cutting this year's budget for fighting fires, is that having an effect? that's next on "the big picture." (announcer) before they give you the lowest price,
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right now the dow is trading down about 185 points. the s&p 500 is also trading down almost 22 points. the nasdaq is down over 38 points. oil prices dipped today despite signs the housing market might be recovering. they settled just above $68 a barrel. pending home sales rose more than expected in july. the national association of realtors saying pending home sales were up 3.2%, the burningl in southern california right
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now. in fact, the biggest fire, what's known as the station fire, grew to nearly 190 square miles. that's happening overnight. it is only 5% contained. firefighters don't expect to have it fully contained. they think at least two weeks. the weather is certainly not cooperating with those fighting the fires. up to triple digit temperatures are expected in southern california today. and the next few days to come. and right now listen to this number. 12,000 homes are being threatened by the fire. dozens have already been destroyed. >> we lost everything. we have a few pieces of my grandma's china, and that is it. we have nothing. absolutely nothing. >> it's tough. it's how you build traditions. you've got to keep the traditions and not worry about the stuff. the bigger picture, california's budget problems, are they hampering the state's ability to fight these raging wildfires? it's a question a lot of people out there are asking. the department of forester and
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fire protection has a budget of $519 million. that's $27 mill kron less than last year. but most of those cuts come from a delay in equipment replacement. here's what governor around schwarzenegger said about the financial squeeze. >> we have the money available to fight those fires, no matter how many fires we have. we have the money available. >> nbc's jay gray is live in los angeles. a lot of people find schwarzenegger's statement hard to believe. is it really accurate that they have an endless amount of money to fight fires for as long as they go? >> reporter: yeah, david. some of those who find it the hardest to believe are the firefighters are the front lines out here. i would be lying if i told you they weren't concerned about the money situation. as far as providing manpower and equipment as they battle these blazes. you talked about it earlier. there is an emergency budget in place. $27 million was cut from the
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forestry fire fighting budget. that emergency reserve, though $182 million, it was already half gone last month. and we're just starting the fire season here. there's still ten months to go. a lot of people say that october traditionally is the toughest month for firefighters in the state of california and for wildfires. so there's a long way to go and not a lot of money to get there. it is a very serious issue. the governor says he's got it all under control, but a lot of people here are curious how that's going to happen. especially when you consider that firefighters on the front lines at this fire, the station fire, the>( along the front
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lines. they say they've got the equipment they need. a bigger concern seems to be maintaining that equipment, making sure that it's up to go the next day and continue going around the clock 24 hours. which is what they need right now. a lot of firefighters are saying, hey, we're a bit worried. we need to keep the money flowing to make sure this equipment's okay to try and get the upper hand. it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. >> we've already seen two firefighters lose their lives. obviously nothing to do with the budget cuts. certainly when you say they're a bit worried, can you give us an idea of what they're saying. they're at the front line. when they're concerned it's a hit in the stomach because they're putting their lives in danger. >> reporter: yeah. and, tamron, i think the concern is more broad based. their worry is that at some point the money's going to run out and that it's going to affect how they perform. right now they're in the midst
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of fighting this fire and their entire focus is on trying to do what they can to protect not only property, but lives. and that's a very real concern right now. they're working in what's supposed to be 12-hour shifts, tamron. understand, when it gets to be 11 hours or 12 hours on the front line, they're not getting up and walking away. some of these guys are staying out there 18, 19, 20 hours. they need the money to bring in reinforcements to make sure the equipment's okay. right now it's all been good. it's just a lingering concern they have in the back of their mind. >> nbc's jay gray. thanks for the great reporting. as always, we appreciate it. we're getting amazing pictures from our viewers today. this one was sent to us from edgar perez in sun valley, actually near hollywood. you can see what looks like a huge fire ball in the sky there. also this picture sent from michelle stewart in south gate. it's the eastern edge of the so called station fire. again, that's the big one we're watching. it was taken about 35 miles away from that. if you take pictures without putting yourself in danger,
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certainly, send them to us at earlier, david, i was watching "morning joe." they had a live picture from california. it was dark before the sun had risen. it looked like just everywhere you could see was a ball of fire. it was incredible images coming out of there and very scary, obviously, for the people there. >> already getting reports people flying over the scene at night, you can just see the flames all over the landscape as they fly below. it's just sort of a frightening, frightening situation. so much great concern for people up in glendale and burbank, wonder ing ifthe fire coming down from the north, how close will it get, how many homes will it consume? >> these are live pictures we're just getting in now. chopper vid you, you see the firefighters, thousands out there, hard at work trying to get the wildfire under control. right now it's about 5% which is not good. up next, why the biggest political fight for president obama this fall may be out of afghanistan and not health care. new calls from both the left and
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the right to bring troops home. in our next hour, sneak peek inside the upcoming book from impeached governor and elvis impersonator rod blagojevich. go♪ ♪ now all they let me have is this dinosaur ♪ ♪ hello hello hello can anybody hear me? ♪ ♪ i know i know i know i shoulda gone to ♪ ♪ free credit report dot com! ♪ that's where i shoulda gone! coulda got my knowledge on! ♪ ♪ vo: free credit score and report with enrollment in triple advantage.
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in today's making their case, an influential conservative columnist calls for u.s. troops to pull out of afghanistan. >> you brought up that conser conservative columnist. it's george will. in today's "washington post" he wrote, forces should be substantially reduced to thoroughly comprehensively reviced policy. america should do only what can be done from offshore using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, air strikes and small,
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potent special forces units con traiting on the porous 1,500 mile border with pakistan. 48% of those questions now say they approve president obama's handling of the situation in afghanistan. that is down from 56% in april. all of this comes a day after the top u.s. commander in afghanistan laid out a new strategy that will likely, possibly, ask for more troops. it also follows the deadliest month of the war since u.s. forces went to that country. 49 u.s. service members were killed in afghanistan in the month of august. and another u.s. service member died there just today. so should the u.s. pull out of afghanistan? what is the end game there? here to make the case is conservative blogger matt lewis of and and liberal blogger, katherine zalessky. you've got george will saying there should be a withdrawal or the time has come for this. what are conservatives doing
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here? because before they wanted to stay the course. especially in iraq. >> right. and, tamron, i think it would be a mistake to think that george will is indicative of conser conservative thought here. >> okay. >> in fact, the vast majority of con serbtives, if you look at national review,, in fact, anywhere i've looked i'm yet to find anyone supporting george will here. so i think this is the case of him being out there by himself. >> is he by himself or is it the beginning of a trend we might see from other con seservativec? >> i don't think that's going to happen. it's hard to predict what will happen down the road. but more than likely i think george will is a lone voice. i happen to think he's wrong. time will tell. i can almost guarantee that it is not something that's going to be trickling out. i don't think this is any sort of har bin jer of things to come. >> katherine, if we see the
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president go to the american people, who we've seen from the polls -- if he says we need more troops on the ground, what do you believe will be the response from the left? >> well, i think a lot of people are trying -- obama consistently said throughout the campaign that he was going to send more troops to afghanistan, that afghanistan was really a priority. and we need to finish it up. history has shown in afghanistan that when we leave and we don't do -- building, we have situations like september 11th. i think a lot of people understand that. they lived through september 11th. they saw what happened after the russians left afghanistan in 1988. they don't want it to happen again. it's one of the reasons they elected obama to go in and finish the job in afghanistan. i think people are going to support him. i think one of the problems right now, why his numbers are going down is because he's not doing enough. we've had increasing numbers of violence, and that's clear. >> if george will doesn't represent the views of many con
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serbtives, and i'll grant you that, what is the biggest single problem with his argument? >> i think there's several problems with his argument. the several factual problems. one i think i pointed out, though, and i don't think anybody else had caught was, he's very much mixed an argument that president karzai is the problem and that his government is a failed government. he fails to note that on august 20th there was an election and it is yet to be determined, very likely there will be a special election, and there's maybe a 30% to 40% chance that there will be a new president, probably a more favorable president for most of us, in afghanistan. and so much of the premise of his argument is based on a failed government that frankly may be changed in a matter of months. >> i apologize. let me ask you, when it comes to, though, the future and pulling out of afghanistan, do you believe the left is prepared to support the president if
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there is a time line? we're hearing from democrats who want, some, at least, a few want a time line, timetable established for afghanistan. is that something you're hearing from folks on the left as well. >> yeah. i think people want the job to be finished in afghanistan. people were supportive of it in 2001 when we went in there to take out the taliban. we want to see it finished. you just have to watch the movie "charlie wilson's war" where he gave them weapons and we left afterwards and you saw what happened. i think people are supportive more than we actually think they are. they just want to see a very clear plan and see it through. >> all right. thank you very much. david, it is interesting when you have matt say that, you know, george will is not representative of most conservatives. you can categorize it that way. i wonder what the strategy is when you have a leading conservative voice say it's time to move on that and how the white house will respond to that? >> especially, tamron, as you pointed out, when the polling
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shows that people are losing confidence in afghanistan, it is a big deal whether or not people agree right now with george will or not. tamron, in today's close up, shifting gears a little bit, college football kicks off this weekend. a heated discussion is now under way about the proper role of student athletes, thanks to a controversy that's erupted at the most successful program in college history. it involves the university of michigan. in the interest of full disclosure, yes, i'm a michigan grad. the wol vereens have more victories than any other school in football and a reputation for running a clean program marked by integrity. michigan is now under investigation for allegedly violating ncaa rules. a player from last year's team wrote an article that a current coaching staff have obliterated rules on how many hours the players may practice. yesterday the coach held an emotional news conference where he denied having done anything wrong. >> to say that is misleading,
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inaccurate and goes against everything that i've ever believed in in coaching. >> what is going on in ann harbor, michigan? is it time for college football to re-evaluate the relationship, financial and otherwise, with student athletes? a journalist and award winning professor at the university of michigan, he has written extensively about michigan football and authored this book, entitled "bo's lasting lessons." awe yo e no the college football world is burning up with the story. first the allegations themselves, how serious are they, and what's the best story? >> they are potentially serious. this is misdemeanor stuff, not felony stuff. that must be said. the ncaa is noi toirs at ignoring felonies and being good at misdemeanors we'll see about that. the rule is very simple. players are allowed 20 hours a week during the season to work
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on their sport. that's weightlifting, games, practices. out of season it's eight hours. what does count, this is where the story falls short. it does not delineate between countable hours and uncountable hours. countable hours include weightlifting, games, practices. uncountable hours include getting taped in the training room, dressed in the locker room, eating with the team, even travel. from the article it's impossible to tell if michigan has gone past the allotted amount of hours. they have it at 19.2. they do keep track. >> it's struck so many people, because of michigan's reputation, a clean program in all, so many people are talking about the role of student athletes and that, perhaps, whether the story is fair or not, it gets to the idea that we're expecting students to be more athletes than students. is that the case at michigan? is that the case in college football in general in your estimation? >> it's always a threat, obviously. you have to take it seriously. at michigan, this is where the
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story falls short. i have to give a quote from the senior editor of the new republic who also, by the way, gave rosenburg's book a very positive review. a "new york times" book review. he says, and i coat, rosenburg has hated rich rodriguez from the moment he appeared on michigan's radar and has made it his life work to run him out of town. i cannot recall a situation where a columnist has been called out for this while doing an investigative story. one of the things left out of the story were for example, based on balance and priority is michigan football team just got its highest grade point in the 20 years they've been keeping track of the grade point. the highest grade point in 20 years doesn't suggest the priority is out of whack. praps the reporting was out of whack in terms of its imbalance. all they have as far as negative comments, one from a current
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player. others dismissed or left. one current player said if you complain about work they call you lazy. i bet your boss would do. whether or not they've broken the rule will be determined by an internal investigation which may or may not go to the big 10 and perhaps from there. michigan standing by its program and by its work for what it's wor worth. >> there's always an intrigue. what is the impact on these 18, 19, 20-year-old kids on the michigan football team who are looking up ands seeing their program now under the national spotlight in a strange way? >> they're bothered. some of them are deeply bothered. it seems like one thing after the other. it's kind of the irritation factor here. rich rodriguez himself, i know you saw him get very emotional there. i've seen it privately as well. those are not crocodile tears. this is hurting him personally being called out for, in his view, not caring for his players which he feels he does. the players i've talked to are also a bit outraged by this.
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some felt they were misquoted. the two freshmen were talking about how hard they work and that got misconstrued. you can never tell what's going to happen on a given saturday. >> he is also the author of "bo's lasting lessons" about the legendary coach. thank you for coming in and helping us with this. we appreciate it. >> david, thank you. up next, today's crossing the line. a high school banned a t-shirt that references evolution. laterch spiderman is up to old tricks again, climbing the world's tallest towers. we'll show you his antiques coming up. there was a time i wouldn't step out of the house
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welcome back in today's crossing the line, debates over
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school dress codes, nothing new, but when the fight is over evolution and t-shirts, we have to ask you if someone's gone too far. school in missouri thought it would be cool today bu a brand new t-shirt for the band. and they did it at the state fair parade. it shows an image of monkey progressing or evolving. each figure is holding a brass instrument and the shirt reads, tiger pride marching band and the words brass evolution, 2009. so the shirt was designed by the band's director and assistant director, but apparently they did not factor in what angry parents religion and evolution can do to a clever idea. in fact, here's what one parent who is also a teacher in the district told the local paper. "i was disappointed with the image on the shirt i don't think evolution should be associated with our school." she's a parent and a teacher. well they were so vocal, the
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school had band members turn over the t-shirts, thus costing the district $700 to cover what would have been paid by the band parents. you've got to think they would have needed that cash for something else. but set that aside. the district is required by law to remain neutral where religion is concerned. "if the shirt had said brass resurrections and had a picture of jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing." but law professor johnson turly wrote about the controversy saying in part, it was a remarkable dim whited decision that caved to rejections on a matter of scientific reference. he goes on to say that evolution is not a barred religious doctrine or a theory. well, the school caved it seems quickly citing the desire to avoid negativity, but did they miss a greater opportunity to teach? it is a school. dumping a shirt in the name of avoidanc avoidance. crossing the line?
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look us up and we'd love to hear from you. it's almost 4:00 in the east coast, 1:00 in california. but right now thousands of firefighters are battling that massive fire near los angeles, we will get a live report from the command center just ahead. also, new outrage as libya celebrates 40 years of momar gadhafi and the release of a convicted terrorist. has the british government told the whole story? those stories plus finding the dalai lama in your latte? sandrai went to pick up my prescription and i was told... sandra..."that's just gonna be four dollars." i said, "you're joking." amandai know sandra personally. and she was only able to afford a week's worth of medication at a time.
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wants to do it. >> this afternoon, there's a chance of strong winds that would help the fire spread. live reports from the scene. plus, more proof that president obama's efforts at bipartisanship aren't getting him anything on health care. another key republican involved in crucial talks is now trashing the president's proposal. >> i think that the senator has turned over his cards on bipartisanship and decided it's time to walk away from the table. >> now what? the latest details for going it alone. later, kids across the country are now heading back to school at the white house, the president and his top advisers are increasingly concerned about the potential threat of swine flu. plus, the french spiderman has done it again and the other things we thought you should know. all that and more this hour on msnbc. good afternoon, i'm tamron hall live in new york. good afternoon, david. >> and i'm david shuster live in washington. and the big picture this afternoon, right now firefighters are working around
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the clock to contain eight fires burning across southern california. the station fire near los angeles is by far the biggest, it has destroyed nearly 122,000 acres of land, including 53 structures. thousands of homes, though, are in harm's way, and as the fire creeps closer, thousands of people have been forced to evacuate. fire crews are also working to protect the historic mt. wilson observatory. flames are inching closer to the mountain, which is also home to at least 20 television transmission towers, radio, and cell phone antennas. nbc's michael live from los angeles. what is the plan for those communications go down? >> reporter: i've got to tell you that right now, david, we understand there are about three strike teams that are surrounding mt. wilson right now. and what they're trying to do is they're trying to dig containment lines around the actual mountain, trying to get a fire line in there so that when


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